I did a lot of careful research to decide where to stay for my visit to Panama City. I chose the Balboa Inn because I wanted to be in close proximity to everything the city had to offer but in a quiet neighborhood where I could see some wildlife. The Balboa Inn was perfect.
• Thorwald was a wonderful host.
• The Inn was clean and comfortable.
• Breakfast was good and plentiful and is included in the price of the room: eggs, cereal, ham, yogurt, juice, coffee, toast, peanut butter, etc.
• The Balboa Inn is just a few blocks (maybe 4) from a major roadway so catching a cab is easy or the staff will call a cab for you.
• It’s a quiet, pretty neighborhood in which to relax after navigating the crazy, energetic city.
• The staff can help you book excursions.
• It was like staying in someone’s home. One night it was pouring rain and Thorwald and I ordered pizza for delivery and chatted over dinner. It was good pizza too!
For me these were not disadvantages, but be aware…
• There are only a few choices to eat near the Inn. There is a nice restaurant that I didn’t try, a food stand near the mini mart, which had great grilled chicken and Niko’s Café. Niko’s is a cafeteria with super cheap eats and a great bakery.
• Hiking to the top of Cerro Ancon and a little artists market is about the only activities within walking distance. You’ll have to take a cab everywhere else. However, I doubt there is any place you could stay that would be within walking distance to everything you want to do. The city is sprawling. Cabs are fairly cheap. Although, I think they’re cheaper for locals than for tourists! Oh, well, what’s a buck or two?
• The Balboa Inn is a bed and breakfast, so don’t expect the Waldorf Astoria or a Trump property. No chocolate on the pillow, no turn-down service, no room service. It’s not uptight or stuffy or gilded. It’s a good, clean, sweet little inn run by super nice people.